LOS ANGELES – There has been another development in the ongoing case of Stormy v. Trump v. Avenatti v. Cohen v. Essential Consultants v. Roy Orbison v. Etc. Etc. Etc. – which started out as a dispute over a nondisclosure agreement but lately appears to have become some sort of experimental, court-based reality TV show.
In response to a recent ex parte application for a restraining order which would keep him from talking shit about Michael Cohen on television and social media, attorney Michael Avenatti yesterday filed his opposition to the application.
Basically, Stormy’s lawyer argues Cohen didn’t meet the “heavy burden” such an “extraordinary remedy” requires, was premature in making his request and should be played by Adam Sandler in the inevitable film adaptation of this trial.
OK, I made up that last part, but I promise the first two points are in there, somewhere.
“Defendant Michael Cohen’s request for a gag order restricting the speech of Michael Avenatti, counsel for plaintiff Stephanie Clifford, must be denied,” Avenatti wrote. “Mr. Cohen seeks to impose a prior restraint on speech, the most highly disfavored and extraordinary remedy curtailing First Amendment rights under the law. This remedy carries a heavy burden and one that Mr. Cohen fails to satisfy.”
Speaking of heavy burdens which fail to satisfy, anybody reading this should endeavor to never eat at a Golden Corral buffet. This tip has nothing to do with Avenatti’s response to Cohen’s attempt to shut him up, admittedly, but it felt like a good way to break things up, because the next part of Avenatti’s brief is even more boring than the stuff I already quoted.
“The focus of a gag order is on prejudice that may result to a party with regards to obtaining a fair trial due to the prejudicial impact from publicity on local jurors,” Avenatti added (a little pedantically, in my opinion). “Here, however, there is no jury or jury trial. Indeed, there is presently no active case because of the stay sought and obtained by Defendants over Plaintiff’s objection. As a result, the threshold requirement for a gag order does not exist.”
Part of me expected the next paragraph to simply read “Mic Drop,” but I suppose that probably wouldn’t impress the judge as a particularly salient legal point, so Avenatti wrote some more crap of the sort only a lawyer would ever say.
“Mr. Cohen fails to address why ‘less restrictive alternatives’ to a gag order are unavailable,” Avenatti argued. “The Court has at its disposal a variety of tools to ensure that the jury pool will not be tainted. Mr. Cohen does not address any of these less restrictive alternatives.”
It’s true: I read Cohen’s whole application, and nowhere in there did it suggest someone could just duct-tape Avenatti’s trap shut for a few weeks. True, that alternative might not seem less “restrictive” to Avenatti than a gag order, but it would at least assure Judge Otero there’d be no immediate oral arguments for him to hear in the case until sometime in mid-July.
The good news is, even without his mouth being duct-taped shut, Avenatti will have to wait until July to irritate Judge Otero in person, because the judge isn’t going to schedule a hearing on this mess until Cohen has a chance to respond to Avenatti’s opposition to the request for the restraining order.
The bad news, of course, is that there will be another update in this case next week, because that’s when Cohen’s response to Avenatti is due.